University: California State University Long Beach
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Communication Sciences, Journalism
Study type: semester abroad
I’m studying media studies in Regensburg and really wanted to spend my semester abroad in the USA. Unfortunately, my home university only has a partner university in Kentucky, so I organized my stay abroad in California myself. In principle, the preparations are much more complex if you go abroad outside of an internal university program. With MicroEdu, the whole thing was relatively easy and everything worked smoothly. Visit mcat-test-centers.com to get information about Southern Cross University.
First, I’ll tell you a little bit about the university. The CSULB is a huge campus with large green areas, which are also used in summer between lectures for sunbathing or learning. For me, the university was really huge, but of course I can’t compare it to other American universities. In itself, the campus is really nice, I definitely spent more time at the CSULB in the one semester abroad than in the previous 4 semesters at my home university. The course is also structured completely differently than in Germany. Except for one lecture, I only had seminars in small groups of a maximum of 30 students. The grading is not, as in Germany, a grade for the exam at the end of the semester, but consists of participation, attendance, homework, presentations, quizzes, midterms and finals. Therefore, the effort during the semester is significantly higher than in Germany, but has the advantage that you don’t have to think about all the material at the end of the semester. For me personally, it was definitely better, because you stick with it much more consistently and learn more or less “in parallel” (as you should actually do in general…) and that was also clearly shown in my grades. What you should definitely be prepared for is course crashing at the beginning. It really is as difficult as everyone says it is. You have to look for as many potential courses as possible, since the domestic students choose their courses online during the semester breaks and the most popular (and those at the best times) are already taken. Flexibility is therefore particularly important and you should try to have as many courses as possible “approved” by your professors at home right from the start so that you do not have any problems later with the crediting. I have also found that it is beneficial to email the relevant professors at CSULB in advance that you would like to attend their courses, as most are very happy.
In my opinion, Long Beach is the perfect compromise between entertainment and chilling on the beach. The university itself offers many leisure activities, especially sports events such as basketball games, which then cost no admission for the students either. You will also get a bus pass at the university, which you can use to travel for free in the entire Long Beach area (Seal Beach, Huntington, etc.). Therefore, the connection to all important places is actually relatively good. Living in the Beverly Plaza / Alvista Apartments area is particularly suitable for foreign students. There you can go shopping on foot and be at the university in 10 minutes by bus. Otherwise you can reach all the beautiful beaches from Long Beach, there are several shopping centers and there is 2nd Street to go out, where there are about 5 bars, where there is always something going on. There is also the Shoreline Village at the harbor, where you can eat very well or go to the cinema. There is also an outlet center with Nike, Converse, H&M etc. Due to the proximity to LA, you can also make ideal day trips from Long Beach, such as a Beverly Hills bus tour, the Hollywood hike or a trip to the Walk of Fame.
I highly recommend CSU Long Beach to everyone and if it weren’t for the tuition fees I would definitely have stayed longer. I really had everything I expected. The weekend actually starts on Thursday evening and ends on Sunday evening. I’ve been to countless house parties, mostly fraternity parties, and a lot on 2nd Street too. Of course, a lot on the beach or by the pool during the day, because the sun is always shining there. So if you’re looking for the classic American college experience, you’ve come to the right place! Another little tip, be open and try to find as many American friends as possible, only then will you really get to know a lot and can enjoy it to the fullest.
Finally, the money. I’m sure you’ve read that everywhere, but America is really expensive. Especially if you pay attention to the food, because groceries are really much more expensive than here in Germany. Since the rental costs are also much higher, you have to reckon with around $1500 a month if you want to afford something. You shouldn’t underestimate this, as you also have additional costs that are not incurred in Germany. About $30 for a cell phone, additional costs for Uber (=taxi), furniture, excursions, shopping, etc. And I advise you, even if you are usually frugal, plan a bit more! Unfortunately, it all costs money, but you can really enjoy it and it’s worth it!!!